Mural #1

    The first mural to be painted by Main Street murals in 1998 depicts an image of “The Old National Trails Highway and it’s transition into Route 66, the Mother Road”.

    In the early 1920’s an emigration to California started from the Mid West.  Families packed up and headed west on Old National Trails Highway, and proceeded along Barstow’s Main Street.

    The depression and dust storms of the 1930’s sent families to California seeking work, some ended their journey in Barstow and made it their home.  In 1926 the road traveled became Route 66, the “Mother Road”.

    * There is a 6’ tall Jack rabbit in Mural #1.  Main Street Murals decided to have a contest among the elementary school students to name him.  The winning name was “Dusty Rusty”.  There is a jack rabbit in each of the murals, in some obvious and in others hidden.

    The principal mural artist was Jim Savoy.  Several local artists contributed to the artists conception that later became the first mural.  The idea was to voluntary paint the first mural to involve the community and in doing so, spread the vision and rally support for Main Street Muralshistorical walking gallery project.  Using just volunteers on a part time and haphazard work painting process, the mural took over a year to paint.

    This first project gave inspiration to the contributors of the mural and the general public at large.

Mural #2

    The second mural was painted in 2000 and is entitled “General Beale uses camels”

    In 1857, under orders to survey a wagon road from New Mexico to California, General Edward Beale followed the 35th parallel to paths opened by Francis Aubry and Lt  A W Whipple.  Beale’s orders required importation of camels and drivers to experiment carrying freight to the South West.  

    Out-performing mules, the camels carried 700 pounds and could go for three days without water.  Their feet adapted to rocky-sandy soil, they succeeded both summer and winter, though they were not popular with mules or drivers.  With the threat of the Civil War, the use of camels ceased.

    The railroad and later, Route 66, followed Beale’s route.

    The principal mural artist was Kevin Varty, who started the project in the back room of Barstow Flower and Bridal, owned by Founder of Main Street Murals, Juliette Tison. He was assisted on the project by Jim Savoy, however sickness and a re-location for work left the mural incomplete with no artist.  Kathy Fierro picked up the baton and helped complete the mural.  Problems arose in finding a home for the mural when the chosen location burn’t down!  Eventually a home was found at Cozy Lane on the Clemmer Building. 

Mural #3

    The third mural was painted in 2003 and is entitled  ”Three Million Dollar Harvey House”

    In the late 1800’s to 1930’s rail travel was considered the choice of transportation. and Fred Harvey had set up a string of dining rooms and boarding houses for Santa Fe passengers.  In 1911 Mr Harvey opened the million dollar “Casa Del Desierto”.  It was considered one of the jewels of the Harvey House system for many years.

    Dining was gourmet cuisine presented on fine china and quality drinks served in crystal.  Weary rail travelers rested in comfortable and luxurious rooms.

    The “Harvey Girls”, women who served the meals along with providing the travelers with friendly conversation, gave Harvey House it’s renowned reputation.

    The artist for this mural was Kathy Fierro.


Mural #4

    The fourth mural was painted in 2004 and is entitled “Waterman Junction becomes Barstow”

    In 1885, the California Southern R.R.Co connects with the Atlantic and Pacific RR line on the Mojave river creating Waterman Junction. Named after Governor Waterman, owner of Waterman Mine and a mill nearby.

    A post office was established on May 15th 1886 and the budding town of Waterman Junction was named Barstow, honoring William Barstow Strong, the ”Executor of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroads Western achievements”

    This mural established the first Mural in a Day community project. A group of around 40 artists assisted in the mural painting, which proved a great success even though the day was cut short at 2.30pm by rain and thunder storms.

    Master artist for this event was Kathy Fierro.

Mural #5

    The fifth mural was painted in Spring of 2005 and was the second Mural in a Day project. The subject is “The Mormon Trail”.

    The Mormon Trail or Mormon Pioneer Trail is the 1,300 mile route that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traveled from 1846-1857.

    The building where the mural was painted is located on 1st Street.  The site was offered by Main Street Mural member Nancy Summers, who suggested the subject to fit the long narrow length of the site.

    The local latter Day Saints Church members were a great help by supplying painters and dinner for all the mural team.

    Click here for Photographs from the Mural-in-a-Day

Mural #6

    The sixth mural was painted in 2005 and took the form of 6 individual portraits of “The Early Explorers”

   Father Garces 1738 – 1781

    In early 1776, he set out northward from Yuma villages on the Colorado River on a journey that took him across the Mojave Desert to the Mission San Gabriel. He was the master of finding guides who would escort him through their own lands.

   Jedidiah Smith 1798 – 1831

    In 1826 he led a party of 17 men through the territory of the Mojave Indians, then across our Great Desert.  During the trek, the heat became so intense that it forced him and his men to bury themselves in the sand to keep cool.  They were the first Americans to enter Califonia overland from the east. 

   John C Fremont 1813 – 1890

    Called “Path finder”, he was known as the West’s greatest  adventurer, noted for bravery and his meticulous recorded notes on vegetation and geography.  ON his 3rd expedition across CA in 1845 he, along with Kit Carson, led the California Pioneers to rebel against Mexico to gain Independence.

   Christopher Houston “Kit Carson” 1809 – 1868

     Kit Carson was born the 9th of 14 children on Christmas Eve, 1809 in Madison County, Kentucky. During his long and illustrious career ranging throughout the Desert Southwest, he was a trapper guide, military scout, Indian agent, soldier, rancher and authentic legend. Carson’s service guiding Fremont across the deserts and mountains of the American West… documented in Fremont’s widely read reports of his expeditions…made Kit Carson a national hero.

   General Steven Watts Kearney 1794 – 1848

     He was “the Father of the US Cavalry” and President Plk named him “Commander of the Army of the West”.  In 1846 he went from Sabta FE, NM on to CA with 100 men on an arduous trip across our desert and on to a battle at San Pascal in the fight for Independence from Mexico.

   Amiel Weeks Whipple 1817 - 1868

     His expedition for a transcontinental railroad, crossed the Colorado River on February 27th 1854 and three weeks later reached Los Angeles, receiving aid from Mojave Indians.  The Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad followed Whipple’s trail for much of the way from Albuquerque to California.  The scientific reports are considered a ‘Glorious Chapter” in the history of American science.


Mural #7

    The seventh mural entitled “The Californian Gold Rush” painted in 2006 was also the third mural in a Day  project.

    With the discovery of gold in California in 1848, and it’s statehood in 1870, and the resulting emigration to the west, the interest of the government in exploring a rail link to the Pacific became serious. Not only would a Pacific railroad help build population and expand commerce, it was also an important element in defending the nations borders by providing a means of economy and rapidly transporting  the army and it’s provisions to the remote posts beyond the Mississippi.

    The weather was exceptionally hot for April and all our painters wore hats and carried water flasks to combat the heat.

    The Master artist was Kathy Fierro.

    Click here for Photographs from the Mural-in-a-Day

Mural #8

    This year Main Street Murals developed an educational program based on The Old Spanish Trail of 1829 – 1848.  This was a four month project involving school children and key historical, cultural and artistic groups from the community.

    The program culminated in a Community-wide Mural-in-a-Day on April 28, 2007. Artists will continue to finish the mural in the coming weeks in time for a presentation to the Annual conference of The Old Spanish Trail Association  held in Barstow, June 7-9, 2007. The mural was dedicated as part of the conference on Saturday, June 9th.

    The Master Artist is David Brockhurst, with a team led by: Candice Michelson, Kathy Fierro and Jane Laraman-Brockhurst.

    The Community Mural painting started at 8am with presentations and entertainment from the Old Spanish Trail Association, BLM and live music throughout the day. Also in attendance was KDUC radio with a live broadcast from the mural painting site.

Mural #9


Mural #10


Mural #11


Mural #12


    Borax was discovered in Death Valley in 1881, a valuable ore in the production of ceramics, household cleaners and the working of Gold. William T Coleman the owner of the Harmony Borax works found that twenty mules could haul 36 tons easily through the isolated region. The mule team and cargo were driven from Death Valley to the railroad at Mojave, a journey of 168 miles that took 10 days.

Large wagons were built to each carry ten tons of ore and ten were built measuring sixteen feet long, four feet wide and six feet high. The rear wheels were seven feet in diameter and the front wheels were five feet, the weight of each wagon was 7,800 pounds. Two wagons were used in each train with a water carrier at the rear.

Intelligent mules were found and each could recognize their own name. The two most intelligent headed the team and were called LEADERS, the next five pairs were called the SWING TEAM, then came the EIGHTS, the SIXES and the POINTERS. On a tight turn these pairs were trained to jump over the hauling chain and guide the wagons around the corner. Behind them and closest to the wagon were the WHEELERS, the strongest mules, sometimes horses were used in this position. The driver rode on the left hand animal, the NIGH WHEELER and from there could work the brake on the front wagon and operate the JERK LINE which ran through a ring on all the left hand mules to the leaders, a long pull meant turn left and a few jerks, turn right. The SWAMPER was the name for the driver’s assistant and he rode on top on the rear wagon and would use its brake from there.

Eventually the Borax at Death Valley ran out, but more was found in Calico and hauled by mule team to the rail station in Dagget until a connecting railroad was built in 1888, which marked the phasing out of the mule team.


Mural #13


Treasure of the Mojave Desert

This ancient site, excavated in the 1950s, overlooking the remains of Pleistocene (Ice Age) Lake Manix contained 11,000-year-old Ice Age bones of extinct animals, such as the ground sloth and dire wolf.

But human artifacts found in Newberry Cave were so impressive that some archaeloogists have called the years from 4,000 to 3,000 years ago the “Newberry Period.” Found here were what might be a male-magical, hunting ritual site. Human artifacts found were the atlatl, a spear or dart throwing stick, along with atlatl darts and points—used in the Mojave Desert before bows and arrows, mountain sheep dung pendants, and especially3,500-year-old split-twig figurines of animals. On the cave walls were rare white, black, red and green pictograph (wall paintings). Because of these artifacts, we now have the “Newberry Period.”

Mural #14


Also called the Beacon Tavern, was built behind a retired aviation beacon that was used to advertise a Richfield gas station. The building was scheduled to be finished in 1929 but was delayed due to the stock market crash. Despite the economic times the hotel plans were expanded from 25 rooms to 50. The grand opening of the hotel was a week long party that started on June 27, 1930. At the time it was the largest hotel between Los Angeles and Albuquerque.

The Beacon’s rooms were quite swanky for the times. Each room had a writing desk, a radio that could tune into stations from all over the country and they were the first hotel rooms in Barstow to have their own bathrooms. Rooms cost from three to six dollars.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Norma Talmadge, Mickey Rooney, Clark Gable the Pittsburgh Pirates and many other big stars stayed at the hotel. One of the more enduring rumors about the hotel is that silent film star Clara Bow and movie cowboy, Rex Bell, got married in the hotel’s cactus gardens but they actually were married in Nevada.

The cactus gardens were a big attraction at the hotel and was the site of many local weddings and parties.

In 1969 the hotel had fallen on hard times and it was announced that it would be dismantled at the beginning of 1970. Before the demolition a sale was held and the furnishings, appliances and even the books in the hotel were sold. Many items from the hotel can still be found at local people’s homes and in our local museums.

Mural #15


April 6, 1881, S.C. Wardan, Hues Thomas and John C. King located claims on Calico Mountain and named it the Silver King Mine. Below there, the town of Calico grew from 100 people in the spring 1882 to over 1,200. There were no less than 46 mines near Calico, like the Waterloo, Bismarck, Oriental, Garfield and Burning Moscow. The falling price of silver shut down the mines by 1896. They had produced between $13,000,000 and $20,000,000 worth of silver. Calico, burned to the ground in the fall of 1883 and was rebuilt, but was vacated in the 1930s. It remained derelict until 1950 when Walter Knott converted the ghost town into a tourist attraction. In 1883 by Postmaster Jim Stacy found Dorsey, the "mail carrying dog.” Soon, the dog was carrying all the mail from Calico to Bismarck, in little pouches strapped to his back. Stacy was offered $500 for the dog, to which Stacy replied: "I'd rather sell a grandson." Dorsey later became famous in legend, book and movie.

To be dedicated on Saturday the 26th of march at 10:00am at the Union Bank 239 West Main Street.